Sunday 8 May 2011

Sneak peek: My wedding cake

Whether you think you can or think you can't - you're right ~ Henry Ford

I think I must have a bit of a stubborn streak. 

Whenever someone tells me, no no you couldn't possibly do that, it just seems to make me want to do it more.

So when everyone was telling me I couldn't possibly bake my own wedding cake, by golly it just strengthened my resolve to do just that.   

Sure I've only ever used fondant once before, sure I've never made a multi-tier cake before, and sure I'm living in a different town and am only flying back 2 days before the wedding...she'll be right, mate I said.

Now with only 11 days to go till The Big Day, the stress levels are getting up there and whether baking my own wedding cake was the wisest decision in the world is yet to be seen.  So, my lovelies, here is a little sneak peek of my wedding cake in all its bumpy 1.5 kg worth of chocolate glory.  Wish me luck!

The plan was to make the cake in 2 parts:

Part 1: Bake the chocolate fruit cake, cover in ganache, freeze.

Part 2: Shore up 2nd tier with skewers, cover cakes in fondant, decorate with silk flowers.

Part one was completed in my recent trip back to Auckland for Easter and Part Deux will happen when I fly back up for the wedding.  Two days before the wedding.  Breathe, Nessie, breathe.

Baking the actual cake was, well, a piece of cake.  The cake is Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake which I made for Christmas.  It's super simple, basically everything in the saucepan then bake.  I added a slosh more OJ and some more brandy coz I left it to bubble for just a little too long.  Not eating all the mixture was the first big challenge - it's fruity, chocolatey and citrusy with a brandy kick.  To die for.

Now the Mt Everst of part one was getting the ganache smooth.  I struggled with this last time and I struggled again this time. I had watched countless youtube videos, read a million blog posts and it looked like it would be easy. 

Easy it was definitely not. 

One of the videos I watched used a L-shaped ruler to make the top level, I didn't have one so substituted our ages old chinese meat cleaver.  Unconventional yes, but it worked a treat.  I heated it up with hot water and used copious amounts of the dark chocolate ganache (1kg worth of dark chocolate for a 30 cm and 21 cm cake) but try as I might I just couldn't get the ganache to look smooth. 

So I changed tack and made some white chocolate ganache to see if that would work better.  It turned out way better than my attempt in dark chocolate and streets ahead of what I made at Christmas but I just couldn't get it to get that marble like smoothness I've seen them do in the youtube videos.  Even with a whopping 1.5 kg of chocolate coating these cakes, there are still little ridges and bumps.  What am I doing wrong??

These bad boys are now resting in the freezer back up in Auckland awaiting The Fondant Layer.  I capitalise to emphasise the gravity and scariness of the process of putting the fondant on the cake.  Fondant has not been my friend so any tips you might have would be so so appreciated!

I'll post the full recipe with Part watch this space. 

11 days and counting!!!


  1. They look lovely! I don't have any tips as I've never attempted to even decorate a cake lol...

    Actually! A potential blogger to email would be:

    Her Christening cake looked amazing.

  2. you are amazing !! l actually like the bumps, it doesn't need to be perfect, i think its gorgeous :)

  3. I think that is so cool, making your own cake. Im sure it will turn out great! Even if it doesnt look exactly perfect...just say its exactly how you wanted it to turn out!
    All the best for the first day of your married life together!

  4. Awwwww!!!!! I totally love this post and I totally love the fact that you're making your own wedding cake!!!!!!!!!

    Everyone is telling me not to bake my own wedding cake too but I will do it as well!!!! Still more that a year left for my wedding and I'm already obsessed about it!!! haha

    I think the white chocolate ganache looks perfect, I can't see any lumps! Anyway, I found out that using a hot spatula once you've finished applying the ganache helps getting rid of any lumps or marks. I've only made 3 fondant cakes myself but it works! Basically, before using the spatula you submerge it in boiling water and then it will leave the smooth finish :)

    The fondant will go great :)

    I wish you all the best for you Wedding, for your cake and for your married life!!!!

    Alma -

  5. Wow you have guts to do your own wedding cake. But hopefully it gives you something to focus your energy on. Wedding can be such a stressful time and sometimes having something wedding related to keep you busy helps keep your mind from trying to think about a million things at once. All the best for your wedding!

  6. Awesome awesome awesome Nessie. Now don't forget that the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and that the cake is delicious (which I am sure it is). Have a good flight up! :)

  7. Not long now! I think it looks awesome already, sending you good fondant vibes!

  8. Hey Nessie,

    What a brave attempt to make your own cake. Even Gordon Ramsay leave the task to the professional hand.

    I used to have a lot of problem with the ganache not being smooth n all. It's actually a difficult skill to master. Even most patisserie in NZ can't do it. It got me crying for months when I used to be an executive chef, doing wedding cakes in Intercontinental Hotel Perth.

    Anyways, my tips are:
    1. Keep everything warm. Ganache that's been set is damn hard to pour smoothly. Keep them on the double broiler.
    2. Keep the fat content high. Use heavy cream, butter, etc.
    3. Work quickly. To prevent the setting.
    4. To make the perfect cut of cake. Freeze it, then let it thaw for an hour or so. So it wont crumble as much when you cut it. Taste just the same.

    There are other quick cheat's ways...
    Try melting some chocolate on double broiler... then add double the amount (of chocolate). boiling water. Stir and stir... This is a way to save seized chocolate. Plus the chocolate will be very porous too!

    Well, I hope you have/had a wonderful wedding! :)

    Sweet Regards,

  9. Sinead: Thanks heaps for your comment - hehe I'd never really decorated a cake until now...first thing for everything eh? :) Her christening cake is amazing - oh to have her skills.

    Paula: Aw thanks lovely! The bumps are growing on me. I think if the fondanting goes up the proverbial creek I might just leave it with its ganache coating - lumps bumps and all :)

    jacksta: Thanks heaps!!! Just want the day to come round already!!!

    Alma: Oh wow congratulations! One year will just ZOOM by! You should totally go for it!! It was actually a lot less stressful than I thought it would be and I'm living in another city! Good luck and all the best with your planning :)

    bunnyeatsdesign: Oh boy do I agree - weddings are definitely stressful, wonderfully so, but stressful nonetheless! The cake has def been a good project to focus on :)

    mel: Thanks heaps mel!! It is definitely so easy to get all caught up in all the organising and stressing and forget to have a good day so thanks for the wise words!

    teresa: Thanks heaps for the happy fondant vibes, I'll DEFINITELY be needing them!!

    Pfx: Thanks so much for your super helpful comment. I think I went wrong with letting the ganache set. Can I just say you are my hero for being a pastry chef AND studying med. *bows in awe* :)

  10. Nessie advance congratulation, you are so talented and since you are doing for your D-day i'm sure you cake will turn out fantastic!! looks amazing so far! do enjoy ur day lady :)



Copyright © 2010-2013 by Nessie Chan/Nessie Sharpe. All rights reserved.

Related Posts with Thumbnails